Marginal Revolution: Why Libertarians Should Vote for Obama

Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution argues why libertarians should vote for Obama:

First, war.  War is the antithesis of the libertarian philosophy of consent, voluntarism and trade.  With every war in American history Leviathan has grown larger and our liberties have withered.  War is the health of the state. And now, fulfilling the dreams of Big Brother, we are in a perpetual war.

A country cannot long combine unlimited government abroad and limited government at home. The Republican party has become the party of war and thus the party of unlimited government.

With war has come FEAR, magnified many times over by the governing party. Fear is pulling Americans into the arms of the state. If only we were better at resisting. Alas, we Americans say that we love liberty but we are fair-weather lovers.  Liberty will flourish only with peace.

He proceeds to argue against voting Republican:

The libertarian voice has not been listened to in Republican politics for a long time. The Republicans take the libertarian wing of the party for granted and with phony rhetoric and empty phrases have bought our support on the cheap.

Correct on all points. Barack Obama certainly is not a libertarian but the country would be far more free with a government headed by Obama than one headed by John McCain. I’ve been arguing that for quite a while, and it is even more true with the addition of Sarah Palin to the GOP ticket. The two biggest threats to liberty are the warfare state (and its accompanied restrictions on civil liberties at  home) and the agenda of the religious right. The McCain/Palin ticket gives the worst of Republican viewpoints regardless if they repeat empty Republican rhetoric about limited government and freedom.


  1. 1
    Don says:

    I agree. I’ve started a blog about being a libertarian Democrat, which I hope will lead in the future to more contacts and agreement between Democrats and libertarians. As Democrats, we need to try and appeal to people like you and Alex more in the future.

  2. 2
    Angellight says:

    There would have been no need for a Surge if Bush & Co. had not taken the U.S. into a Phony & Pretend War on Terrorism while the Real War on Terrorism in Afghanistan where Bin Ladin lived, was ignored! And if we do not Wise up this might happen in the future!

  3. 3
    Eric D. Rittberg says:

    Is that why the Libertarian Party of Alaska endorsed Palin in her run for Governor in 2006, and even their Gubernatorial candidate against her, told all his supporters to back her in the final days, and not cast their votes for him?

    Guess it also explains why the Libertarian Party of Alaska extended an invitation to Sarah Palin to two of their meetings to speak in 2005/06. 

    And it also explains why so many hardcore Libertarians like big marijuana legalization advocate Al Anders just gave her a huge compliment for her “working with Libertarians in Alaska.” 

  4. 4
    Fred says:

    The illness; twisted truths. The reason; McCain needs a mouth piece and has found one in Sarah Palin. If you haven’t noticed, he’s been silent of late. I guess it is true, McCain cannot explain honor. He surely isn’t up on decency!

    Palin continues her lies to a rousing applause while those clapping are so deafened by the noise they make they cannot hear what she is saying! And McCain stands with a childish smile to her side thinking, good job Sarah, yes Sarah, oh yes Sarah, like a good husband.

    So, who really is running for president? Sarah or McCain? I suppose it doesn’t matter considering they are both liars!

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:


    I am speaking of the views of libertarians, not the Libertarian Party. While there is some overlap, these are two different things.

    The LP was opposed by many libertarians when founded and now represents the views of only one segment of libertarians. They LP tends to be conservative and tends to look at economic rhetoric while ignoring actual policy and adherence to libertarian principles. Endorsement by the LP does not mean one is a libertarian in the broader definition of the word.

    Palin may have worked with members of the LP but she also has had association with far right groups which have nothing to do with libertarianism. Having worked with Libertarians does not mean that she is worthy of receiving the votes of true libertarians.

    Whether Palin deserves the votes of libertarians should be argued based upon her actual views and record. Saying that this or that libertarian individual or group endorsed her is just a means of avoiding the real argument.

    The two most dangerous threats to liberty in the United States today come from neoconservatives and other supporters of the warfare state and from the religious right. Palin is on the wrong side in both of these cases.

    Palin opposes abortion rights which, with the current balance on the Supreme Court, represents the gravest situation in which a major right (to control one’s own body) is in direct danger.

    She is certainly no libertarian on civil liberties issues. No libertarian would consider banning books from the local library and threaten the librarian for not going along with this. There are also additional abuse of power matters of concern with her.

    Her record  does not match her rhetoric on economic matters as I’ve pointed out in several recent posts on all the pork she has brought to both Wasilla and Alaska and on how her overall record at cost spending has not turned out to be all that great.

    By the way, do not post essentially the same comment repeatedly. This makes you look like a “Paulbot” and at least I know that is not the case.  I  have deleted all but your first comment today (especially as this post seemed to be the most appropriate place for this discussion). It’s been a while since you’ve commented here. Even if you are now doing so under a different name it is still the same bizarre views which nobody is interested in reading repeatedly, and I’d rather just have to reply in one thread as opposed to reading the same thing and posting the same reply all over.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:


    The number of libertarian Democratic blogs is certainly increasing. I just added you to the blog roll, and there are even two different Libertarians for Obama blogs listed.

    While there will always be throw backs like Dondero/Rittberg who are really far more conservative and Republican than libertarian a growing number of libertarians are now realizing that the old rhetoric about Democrats=socialists was 1) highly exaggerated in the past and  2) even less the case now.

    Democrats have both libertarian and non-libertarian tendencies, with the libertarian leaning Democrats succeeding in choosing Obama over populists like Clinton and Edwards this year. In the netroots there is even stronger support for left-libertarian principles and hopefully the party will continue to move in that direction.

    In contrast the Republicans have typically used libertarian rhetoric while often pushing corporate welfare instead of capitalism. They have increasingly become supporters of the warfare state, opponents of civil liberties, and even supporters of the religious right. In doing so they have little to offer those who truly support liberty (as opposed to those libertarians who are essentially conservative Republicans who have smoked marijuana and think that the libertarian label sounds cooler than conservative).

  7. 7
    Don says:

    Dear Ron, Thank you. Well said. Wish us luck. Take care, Don

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